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Poster: light into ashes Date: Feb 5, 2011 9:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

I'm surprised by that reaction, actually... Of course, everyone will have their own reactions to his life.

I pretty much left out any reference to his family & personal life. But yes, before the Dead he did have a variety of odd jobs. He did marry and had a son. He did have friends who loved him. All of that was trivial to my subject, so I didn't really mention those things...

His life may have been pathetic, nonetheless...devoting himself body & soul to Dead tapes and drugs... And he did go through a lot of turmoil (a lot of it self-caused, I don't join the Dead organization without getting a lot of hassles, it seems, and Latvala thrived on drama & angst).

But the people who knew him almost unanimously said that he was living exactly the life he wanted, to the end, and that they were amazed & humbled that someone could be such a success doing exactly what he wanted to do. I mean, if you read the "tribute" links I put in when he died, none of those folks seemed struck by how 'pathetic' or 'lost' he was - quite the opposite.

Personally I was quite impressed by his devotion. And I think he found a lot of (intangible) rewards in his life of collecting & sharing music.

And, by your definition, Jerry Garcia was also a pathetic lost soul - the community benefited through his efforts, but his only 'reward' was drug addiction & bad health, the only thing that "came back to him" was an unwelcome idol-worship, his 'family life' was quite unstable, and he met an equally tragic end.
And yet, that seems a limited way to sum up his life...

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Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 5, 2011 2:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

EDIT: sorry, LiA, if you didn't have a chance to read that prior equally depressing post of mine (that I just deleted), but suffice it to say it left a bad taste in my mouth, metaphorically speaking. I think it clear I was overly concerned with what might be termed the reaction of a friend or family member, or parent, to the various events described so well by you in your account of Dick's life, droning on about it now will only seem judgmental, and serve no constructive purpose.

My bad.

This post was modified by William Tell on 2011-02-05 22:31:55

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Feb 5, 2011 5:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

It's funny how the focus-on-the-positive came up right about the same time as your original comment, which you have thankfully rescinded.

We, as Deadheads, have certainly benefitted from Latvala's dedication to getting the music out there. His determination with this music is obsessive yet admirable.

Latvala may not have had the genius or output of Garcia, or any other successful junkie, but he did leave one heck of a legacy that is important to anyone who cares about tape trading.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 5, 2011 6:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

The irony is that it's my upbeat nature that correlates with this "see the negative" in the narrative above. Does that make sense? I could see you going on to do important things with the DEAD, but in a more upbeat, less destructive fashion (I just think along these lines), and we'd all be talking about it in 30 yrs: how your hobby became your life, your source of income, and everyone always patted you on your back for having done so well with merging the two. But, if I found out you took massive amounts of drugs to listen, seemed to have difficulty with the obsession, blah, blah, blah, next year or so into this dream life, I'd try to talk you out of it, ya know? Somehow it occurred to me that there HAD to be a better way to achieve it; but of course, that's always the case, eh? Hindsight and all...

Hang in there kid.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Feb 5, 2011 7:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

I think I get what you are saying. Although he followed his passion and obtained his dream job, he was not able to have this "success" without the associated destructive behavior that he partook in to deal with his stress or other reasons. In that respect, there is a bittersweet and tragic aspect to yet another GD "hero".

I'm hanging in there WTell, though it's tough lookin for that first job out of university.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Feb 5, 2011 5:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

Aha...I did read your post before your EDIT, though...

I think my essay may read a little negatively (he was definitely a griper) - I didn't include much of the praise & admiration that friends wrote about him, but believe me, there was quite a lot of it.

I would just suggest that maybe you're setting the bar a little high for a successful/happy/fulfilled life. A lot of us are 'failures' & screwups in life, you know....and not everyone needs to be a great artist to find something worthwhile to devote themselves to. (Indexing the works of Mozart, however puny & ill-rewarding a task, is still a useful contribution to the world...)

Despite his personal demons and his constant complaints about the job, I think Latvala was happier & more fulfilled than many people. As Kevin Shapiro said, "He was one of the only people I’ve ever met doing EXACTLY what he wanted exactly as he wished it done... If I can leave the world with a fraction of the love and admiration he did, I will have been a success."

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Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 5, 2011 6:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

Yeah, I think setting the bar high is what being a parent is all about...not that you ever want to convey it in that spirit, but you get the idea. And trust me, I know how pathetically self-serving that reads!

You see a life, and one filled with the troubles outlined above, or Jerry for example, and I would offer the following: I'd trade the Jerry we had for one that lived til he was 80, happily married, with grandkids on his knee, while pursuing, I dunno, half-assed art (barely making ends meet selling ties perhaps?) for the one that manifested itself, IF he found happiness in doing so. Are we really all willing to admit "yep, there's nothing we can do about these self-destructive aspects of friends and family?" Maybe so.

I just imagine that if anyone of us were close to such a person, and witnessed each of those ontogenetic events, we would have been in his face with an intervention in a split second. And of course, as you can imagine, it's precisely because I lived thru so many tragic events of separate lives that I come to believe there has to be a better way...and if that derives from high expectations and the consequent let-downs, so be it. Sitting back and watching it happen just isn't for me, even if that's been the end result many a time.

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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Feb 6, 2011 11:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dick Latvala (part 3)

Re: "And, by your definition, Jerry Garcia was also a pathetic lost soul - the community [planet Earth] benefited through his efforts."

The latter half of the above sentence is my "bottom line." At the end of the day, it's my thesis. This point is referenced again and again in my Taper's handbook for Hippies and Music Lovers and Peace:

visit my Taper's home page on The Archive

June 1973 RFK Stadium webpage

Sound System and The Crew

Alembic and Ampex Corporation technical know-how

Taper's portable cassette recorders - early 1970s

Taper's "reel changes" explained

Taping the Europe '72 tour on a 16-track Ampex deck modified by Alembic

2-inch quad video debated - Tivoli show, Copenhagen, 17 April 1972

AVI of Tivoli show, Copenhagen, 17 April 1972

FM radio broadcasting The Dead

Jer shooting at Tapers during a Matrix debate

Archiving the bands and musicians - cadre of musicians debated

Mark O'Conner unleashed at 15! Vince Gill at 18! Monte is busted sharing music!

Cowboys debated

help find Monte's LOST Video Tape Recordings from TBF 1985

CBS Documentary - Hippie Temptation - 1967

Grateful Dead roots and the Greenpeace connection

Grateful Dead response to the Kent State Massacre

Peace and Reconciliation Movement debated

Net Neutrality debated -- with Updates



This post was modified by dead-head_Monte on 2011-02-06 19:30:36